Types of Retainers

Types of Retainers

So, what happens after your braces come off?  After braces are removed, your orthodontists will issue retainers to hold and maintain teeth in their final positions.  It takes time for teeth to settle into their new positions, as the gums and bone around the teeth need to adapt to the new changes.  If retainers are not worn, teeth can shift, a little, or back to their original positions.  Therefore, it is really important to follow your orthodontists’ instructions on retainer wear to maintain your beautiful straight teeth.

There are different types of retainers, removable and fixed.


Hawley Retainers download

This is one of the most commonly used types of removable retainers. It is made out of acrylic which is moulded to the mouth and a wire at the front to hold the teeth in place. There is now a newer type of Hawley retainer available whereby the metal wire at the front is replaced by clear plastic.  This is called a ClearBow retainer.  ClearBow retainer provides great aesthetics, especially for times when retainer wear is required during the day. Both Hawley and ClearBow retainers are available in a variety of colours and designs.



Essix RetainersEssix Retainer

This is made out of clear plastic moulded around the teeth and is a removable type of retainer.  This type of retainer wraps around the teeth, including the biting surfaces.   Again, this provides great aesthetics.



Bonded RetainerLower bonded reatiner

A bonded or permanent retainer is a wire glued to the back of the lower front six teeth, and occasionally on the upper teeth.  If the orthodontist feels that the front teeth are at risk of moving back following orthodontic treatment, they may recommend a bonded retainer to prevent this from happening.  This type of retainer can be great if compliance with removable retainer wear may be an issue.


Whatever type of retainer you may have, be sure to wear it according to your orthodontist’s instructions to maintain your beautiful straight teeth!

Written by Jen Wu – Oral Health Therapist at Sable & Pepicelli Orthodontists


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